A timely new dugout

Trenches, Monday December 13th, 1915

Just a few lines once more, we are starting our fifteeth week in the trenches and are just about ready to come back home to Australia as soon as they like to send us, but I guess from the way things are shaping that we won't see the old Port Melbourne Pier for some months yet.

I would have written yesterday but I went to Church Communion in the morning and in the afternoon Abdul kept us busy with a few bucksheesh shells (“Allee same big fellow”) that I spent quite a lot of time down one of the deep funk holes and we only had two casualties. Abdul is a rather bad shot with his Howitzers and by the time he gets the exact range there are not many chaps about. Of course, that only applies to the “big'uns” as 75s and shrapnel are passed by unnoticed now, although at first they used to scare us some.

Yesterday we watched the big chaps coming (we can generally see Howitzer shells which travel fairly slowly) and saw them coming closer as they shortened range until we thought discretion the better part of valour, and put about 30 feet of Mother Earth on top of us, where we are safe as if in dear old 'Clava once more.

I spent a few days last week in digging a real good dugout as my other one was not as safe as it might have been, and was very cold and it was just as well that I did, as it collapsed with recent rains and helped by rats, and if it hadn't, well, yesterday would have finished it for an 8-2 lobbed right behind it and shifted about a ton of trench. We are not clearing up the mess as I don't think we will need these trenches very much longer.

Last week another mail came in and again no letters from you. The last letter I received was written toward the end of September, then a got a bonza photo and no letter and now I got the Children's Magazine and no letter but I got one from Dad, so I know things are all right.

Thanks very much for the papers. I got such a lot this time – three lots of dailies, three Weekly Times, Globe, two Punches, My magazine, three Spectators and a few I have forgotten. The papers are much appreciated here and I am very thankful for them and I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

This is a funny place. The weather is quite warm again, then got the snow, followed by a spell of extremely cold weather, I thought we were in for a good time, but since then is has been quite mild.

We are back on full rations again and are doing well. We get porridge for breakfast now – five spoonfuls per man. It is real good stuff and I could do with a lot more than that. I have not seen Ralph since Monday and he was then in a perfect state of fitness. Ernie is also very well and looks as if he will be Quartermaster Sergeant BCOY very likely. I hope he gets it. He has worked hard.

We are pretty busy today and there are vague rumours flying about so I will have to close now.

I don't know where the next letter will be written from.

With love to all.

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